By Caroline May
Some had internships, some sought adventure abroad, some bummed around the house, some spent the summer looking for a job, and a few found employment. After sitting in classrooms for a good nine months, the majority of American youth need a new scene. Summer is a time for - as John Cleese would say - "something completely different." Having torn free from the bonds of professorial dictates and stifling schedules, the ability to choose one's activities for the following three months is a luxury of epic proportion. And some do have great opportunities: wealthy parents or a generous relative may finance a trip to Europe. Numerous applications painstakingly written months in advance may have provided one with the opportunity to work as an intern or lab assistant. Others may return to their hometown community swimming pool to reclaim their lifetime gig as the beloved lifeguard. Yet for each trip to Europe or invaluable experience at a top organization there are many wholly unable to set their own summertime agenda. The economic woes of the past year served only to intensify this unfortunate reality. The precise definition of an economic recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Although the country did not fall victim to even one quarter of such anemic figures, Americans did feel the pressure of a slowing economy, as (among other things) the housing bubble burst, the dollar weakened and gas prices soared. In the midst of the economic malaise, students throughout the country finished school and ventured out in search of a job - for a bit of spending money, resume enhancement and good old-fashioned character building.